Thursday, October 23, 2014

Charisms in Art and Beauty

Receiving the Charisms of the Holy Spirit through Art & Music

     I did not grow up in a charismatic environment. My first exposure to the gifts of the Holy Spirit occurred at a youth conference in 2003 during adoration. To this day, I am very thankful that I was surrounded by people who could help me fully understand what was taking place. For some, it is often difficult to comprehend the Holy Spirit’s manifestation through human vessels as being both miraculous and beautiful. Gifts such as tears of joy and healing, laughter, resting, wisdom, and tongues are not often expressed in your regular Sunday liturgy.

     Full disclosure: I, personally, have never received any of the beautiful gifts of the Holy Spirit in the context of Sacred Liturgy, Adoration, or any prayer service. However, I will never forget the first time I received the gifts of laughter and tears on stage. I was performing Gustav Holst’s “The Planets”, specifically the “Jupiter” movement. Apart from most of the movement sounding brilliantly whimsical and grand, there is a slower section in the middle where Holst quotes the hymn “Oh God, Beyond All Praising.” It is meticulously orchestrated, and builds in both intensity and voicing through to the end. I did not anticipate receiving gifts in that moment, but as the slower section began, so did I begin to weep. For those of you who are musicians, surely there have been moments on stage where you have been able to taste Heaven. This was my first. It has happened more times that I can keep track of since, and in many contexts including: orchestra, folk groups, big band groups, gospel groups, rock, and even r&b. It has happened to me on both sides of the stage, and has helped me grow in both my vocation and faith.

     The Holy Spirit authors beauty through the artist. The artist creates and gives the gift of his/herself through his/her work to the bride, the (in the case of music) listener. The listener receives that gift of self and also receives the Holy Spirit through the work. The bride is inspired. This beautiful cycle is only possible is the artist is able to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I believe that he/she can only receive the gifts if his intentions with his/her artwork are pure and honest. In order to receive, we must be willing to receive.

     While I believe in a God that can make all things possible, I also believe that this will be the only way for me to receive the charisms of the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t discourage me by any means, but instead, affirms me in my vocation to music and beauty. I was beautifully and wonderfully made to create beautiful and wonderful things that are also authored by the Holy Spirit through me, and that is the same for any man or woman who is gifted with the ability to create beauty and called to her vocation. 

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